Katie Malik Interiors did this Leys Avenue project in Cambridge, UK, taking a dull interior and transforming it into a bright, festive gathering space. This is not a case of
extreme makeover, but rather an excellent example demonstrating how a renovation project doesn't have to involve tearing down walls or making lofty additions to your home (if you're considering a renovation project, you may want to speak with an interior decorator or designer who can help you reconfigure your space without undertaking any major construction!). In this project, the designers made well-articulated changes to specific elements of the home, preserving the infrastructure while giving the entire space a fresh, rejuvenated look.
Okay, so it's terrible: the room offers a pleasing layout and symmetrical wall space that frames a low fireplace. However, it's all a bit on the drab side. It appears that the fireplace no longer functions as such – a speaker sits loudly in front of the hearth, along with a few other random items that don't exactly look like they truly belong there. The television is tucked off in the dark corner, not easily visible for anyone who'd like to catch an episode of their favourite show. The shelf on the left has its heart in the right place, but it's not taking advantage of the full height of the room – in fact, nothing is taking advantage of the full height of the room, as your glance is constantly drawn down by the accumulation of items on the lower half of the room. This room needs a spotlight on its height, the addition of some more permanent storage, and a brighter colour scheme that will open up the back wall.
There's a similar theme shared between the sitting room and the living room – a central protruding wall framed by even receded spaces on both walls. This room enjoys a bit more light, as well as some attention to to items on the high shelving to direct your gaze upwards. Really, the only thing lacking here is a sense of theme – at this point, the room offers a lackluster mix of dark furniture and a scattered assortment of objects that cause you to question where the central focus of the room might be.
Again, the room's not bad. However, it lacks verve – the table is a beautiful piece, but nothing else in the room is singing its praises, and its design just fades into the background. A kitchen should be a place where conversations, friendships, and projects come alive – and this dull room doesn't foster that kind of life-giving atmosphere at all. As in the sitting room, the room suffers from a lack of light and a lack of design elements that draw the eye above the level of your waist.
This room has been given a lift – literally. The shelves added to the back wall reach up to the ceiling, creating some extra height (and much-needed storage) for the small room. Rather than having an assortment of clutter around the fireplace, the hearth area, although still blocked off, maintains a classic fireplace-like feel with the addition of a lantern (forget the speaker!), and the items surrounding it look like they actually belong due to their matching color scheme. The television has been removed from the picture – it wasn't in a very watchable position anyhow – and replaced with a backdrop of paneled, brightly painted white walls that reflect light throughout the space.
There's nothing elaborate about this renovation – the existing structure is still visible through the new changes – and it seems that in this case, simplicity is the key. Before, there was a large assortment of colours and shapes hiding in the darkness, and now, there are simpler, conforming shapes shining against a pure white background. With such a simple, rustic look, even the easy addition of a single flower draws eyes and provides a point of visual interest that would have easily been overlooked in the previously cluttered space.
In the new sitting room, instead of hunkering down to enjoy a poorly positioned TV, this family now enjoys the light streaming in through the window. No longer needing to view a small TV screen, the furniture has been pushed back a few feet to rest in the sunlight. Low profile, lightly padded furniture gives a sleek, minimalist feel to the space – even with three separate pieces of furniture in the same small space, their streamlined design allows them to coexist without being too plush or overwhelming.
Small changes made a big difference here! The same dark furniture rests along the edges of the room, except for one piece – the bulky reddish brown shelf that once filled the far corner of the room. With the removal of the shelf, the room gains extra space where there was once an obtrusive piece. Now, a clear view into the kitchen beyond creates a friendly connection between the two common rooms. Most of the furniture has maintained its original position – the coffee table still rests on the same striped rug, for example – but the clutter is now organized into a neat array of objects that looks balanced and intentional. Flowers make a nice centerpiece in the room, the vase incorporating the teals from the rest of the decor, and the blossoms giving off fresh vibes.
An unadorned, theme-less kitchen has been transformed into a sprightly space with nimble chairs, a sleek white table, and little pops of bright greens and blues. Keeping it simple with classic whites all around, the room receives a pleasant balance from the addition of the black cabinet, which offers a stark contrast to both the white walls and the white plates that it holds. The kitchen had a lovely, large window to begin with, but now, with the reflection of the light off of multiple bright surfaces, the window offers a truly luminous, refreshing glow.
The kitchen table before was slightly bulkier, with more width and clunkier chairs. The reduction of the kitchen table to this slim white piece, along with the addition of these delicate chairs, have created ample space on the sides of the table – perfect for a family with lots of movement around dinnertime.
Floor-length curtains add a subtle frame for the window, and as they are placed beyond the sides of the window, they give the illusion that the window is wider than it actually is. With the two vertical blue stripes as a window frame and the perky green chair as a focal point, this kitchen has been transformed into a balanced work of art.
If you fancy this cheery kitchen, you should see this ideabook that has compiled 9 Delightful Little Kitchens to Love
These bright new rooms are by no means a renovation miracle, but rather evidence that a few thoughtfully executed changes can have an enormous impact on the feel of your space. The brightest of whites now coats the walls, and the home is now refreshingly light. No major tiling, resurfacing, erecting walls, or the like – the mere removal of a few bulky objects (like the television and the brown living room cabinet) and the ordered, careful placement of decorative objects have given this home more space and more energy. Finishing touches in blue and green are spotted all around, carrying a subtle (and low-maintenance) theme throughout the lovely